Buy $900 1994 Metro-3 cyl 5 MT- beat up

Discussion in 'Other Manufacturers' started by phoebeisis, Feb 23, 2008.

  1. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    A few weeks back I posted about buying a used,cheap, FE car-the local offerings-Craigs list-at the time-1989 Tercel,1994 Metro,Sentra.
    I'm passing on the Tercel because the owner says it smokes on startup.Could be just gasoline-blackish smoke- but despite the low miles(-65000 on odometer)-it is still for sale.This probably means that there is something obviously wrong with it- low mile FE Toyotas sell quickly-heck high mile ones sell quickly.
    The Sentra-I was warned off here.
    The Metro is still for sale.Originally they wanted $1400-now they say $900 is the bottom.
    Lots of miles 165000,AC dead,lotta' dents.I'm only going to use it on short trips around NOLA to keep from using the Suburban.I'll take the Suburban off the insurance and cancel the registration.If we need it-hurricane-,I'll re-register it-(about $80),and re-insure it.
    Anyone have any details on the Metro-what to look for-what breaks 1st?
    I don't expect much from a $900 car.I'm hoping to get it to limp along for 3 years-12000 miles-maybe averaging 35 mpg in my very short city trips(the Suburban gets maybe12- 13 mpg on a 2.5 mile trip with a cold motor).It will pay for itself at 2 years-even ignoring the miles/depreciation it will save on the Prius .If it actually last 3 years it will probably still be worth $900-especially if gasoline is $4.50/gal by 2011(my guess).
    Any insight out there?
    If it punts in some expensive way soon after purchase-motor,trans,--I'll probably just part it out and write it off to "should have know better,shoulda' bought a Civic,Corolla"A Civic of this vintage/condition-in NOLA- would be about $2000-says a lot for Civics.
    ps-Anyone know-4 valve head? Shims or rocker arms for the valves adj?
  2. lamebums

    lamebums Member

    I've heard the three cylinder configuration, as it ages, can get less stable, causing more wear on the engine and reduce FE. Also, I've heard something about the EGR valve overheating in Metro's, although I'm pretty fuzzy on the details.
  3. BailOut

    BailOut My favorite holiday is Earth Day!

    What is NOLA?
  4. lamebums

    lamebums Member

    I assume it's Northern LA.
  5. ILAveo

    ILAveo Well-Known Member

    I never owned a Metro, but I've noticed there is some sort of "uncool pregnant rollerskate" stigma attached to them (same for the Aveo :cool:) which probably helped out with the price you paid. I know a couple of guys well who owned them that liked them. My brother-in-law seems to have liked his Metro more (in its minimalist way) than he likes his Prius. If I didn't already have too many toys I'd buy a beater Metro too.
  6. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    Guys, thanks for the info
    New Orleans Louisiana=NOLA
    I will buy it Monday.
    PS-Yes-pregnant roller skate-it isn't big on looks,and this one photographs not too pretty.
  7. msirach

    msirach Well-Known Member

    Friend has one. Good car
    co-worker has one with 270,000 miles. Had to change the clutch about a month ago. One gets around 50 mpg and the other gets 45mpg.
  8. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    He has 2? Wow,and one with 270,000 miles?What does he say about parts availability-where does he get them-Chevy dealer-aren't any Geo dealers anymore?
    I expect the 0-60 was probably about 18-20 seconds-maybe even slower.The current owner has warned me that it is extremely slow,and only does 75 mph wide open.I expect that it must have lots of wear,or maybe the original plugs/wires/aircleaner.It should be able to do 80 mph.
    If it doesn't smoke-especially bluish oil smoke-I'll buy it.Usually I can smell oil in the exhaust if the rings,valve guide seals are done.The CAT CON is probably -melted/plugged-that might explain the 75 mph also.The check engine light is on,of course.$900 cars,are $900 cars.AC is dead.
  9. msirach

    msirach Well-Known Member

    The seller: "Carpartswholesale" on eBay has parts cheap. When the friend bought his for $500, he was going to be driving a lot each day for several months. I ordered him the left and right a-frames from the above for a total of about $50. I also got him a Super MID from Yoshi. He installed it but hasn't drove the car for about 6 months since he is working at home.

    The co-worker is also a used car dealer and the Geo is the only thing I have seen him drive over 1 month. I think he's had it about a year now. He raised his mileage about 6 mpg by going from 35 psi to 45 in the tires.
  10. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    Thanks.First order of business will be to jack the tire pressure on the probably baldish tires to the max on the sidewall.Second might be to track down one of the "better" cams.
    Your carpartswholesale must have access to junked Metros.Megacycle might make cams to order-especially if you give them a core, but it is waaaay expensive,I think.
    You have me on the "Super MID from Yoshi". Yoshimura-the MC racing/aftermarket parts guys sell Metro parts???? What is a MID-?An exhaust maybe?
    Yoshimura was Suzuki's "almost factory" 4 stroke racing team for years, but I can't remember any 4 stroke 3 cyl Suzuki mc engine?
  11. Tochatihu

    Tochatihu Well-Known Member

    I drove one of that era about 500 miles. A rental. Don't remember any obvious faults.

    There must be some sort of universal catalytic converter that you could MIG weld in there.

    I think it would make an interesting addition to the CleanMPG fleet.

    If the ICE blows up, then you have running gear for an EV conversion.

  12. msirach

    msirach Well-Known Member

    Carpartswholesale sells new parts. The A-frames were stamped China but matched the oem exactly.

    Yoshi is Yoshiyuki Mimura from Japanese nenpimania fame.

    Yoshimura is a great performance team that can pull some amazing power out of bikes. I rode a Yoshimura Honda xr75 in the mid 70's that would absolutely scream.

    Good luck on finding the vx cam. I searched for about a month and never found one.

    Here are some links:


    For his original Japanese site.. :)


    For instructions:

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